Svindal takes downhill globe
Under sunny skies in Lenzerheide (SUI), Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal was handed the Big Globe for winning the season downhill title on Wednesday morning. Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer (AUT) won the race 0.11 ahead of both Christof Innerhofer (ITA) and Ted Ligety (USA) who tied for second place.
Svindal finished in fifth place in today’s race, keeping the race tight between him and Austria’s Marcel Hirscher for the overall season globe. Svindal’s fifth-place finish gives him 1091 points, a slim 41 points ahead of Hirscher. Svindal will look to expand on that lead in tomorrow’s super-G, before Hirscher takes center stage with the technical events later in the week.
“For a downhill skier this globe is one of the big globes. Getting it here in front of a nice crowd like this feels really, really good,” said Svindal. “In terms of the overall title, it’s almost too exciting right now. We’re both at the same place right now and I have to say it’s definitely 50-50.”
Conditions were perfect for today’s race, with cool temperatures overnight keeping the course hard and sunny skies providing the ultimate atmosphere. But despite the perfect backdrop, the elite downhillers struggled with challenging course with six of the 26 starters not finishing and several silencing the capacity crowd with tough crashes.
“It really means a lot of me to win today. I’ve had some good races in the last few weeks and its nice to get another downhill victory today,” Mayer said of his win. “It was difficult, we only had one training yesterday and everyone made some mistakes there so it was wide open for today’s race. Today I had good skiing in the bottom section which I think made the difference.”
Svindal already had the downhill title wrapped up before today’s race. In the end, he finished an impressive 210 points ahead of Hannes Reichelt (AUT). Canadian Erik Guay finished third in the overall downhill standings just three points behind Reichelt.
The men will be back in action tomorrow at the season closing week in Lenzerheide. On the schedule is the Super-G race at 9:30 CET. Svindal has also already claimed the Super-G discipline title, but the points he earns tomorrow may be the difference between him or Hirscher winning the grandest prize in Alpine Skiing in the 2013-14 season.